Central Gippsland aged care residents receive facilities boost
October 20, 2021
Central Gippsland Health’s Wilson Lodge is among the 21 public sector aged care services recently selected to share in $10 million under the 2020-21 Rural Residential Aged Care Facilities Renewal Program which enables rural and regional residential aged care services across Victoria to invest in modern infrastructure and equipment.
Having received a grant of $570,000, the Sale-based service, home to up to 50 residents, is now finalising plans for outdoor upgrades which will cater to the accessibility needs of residents with varying levels of mobility.
According to Central Gippsland Acting Director, Residential Aged Care, Caron Mallet, this project will improve residents’ lives by providing increased outdoor safety and greater social connection between residents and the broader community.
“It’s important that our residents aren’t feeling isolated and that they are a visible as part of the community in Sale,” Caron said. “Lockdown has been difficult for everybody. The majority of residents haven’t been able to have visitors throughout the pandemic and, for our staff, managing COVID restrictions has reinforced the value of promoting and maintaining connectedness.
“Many residents enjoy being outside and watching the world go by – for instance, seeing local kids walk past on their way home from school. Previously, Wilson Lodge had close relationships with schools and preschools. They did incursions and excursions where, for example, residents would read to preschoolers or children would perform for residents. Hopefully, this grant will enable these activities to happen again.”
Based on feedback from residents, the upgrade work will include redesigning the outdoor environment to create a dementia-friendly area including covered spaces, vegetable and herb gardens, and sensory paths.
“People living with dementia like to be able to walk about freely,” Caron explained. “So, we would like to have interconnected pathways that are safe for people to wander through. Sensory stimulation activities are important in triggering positive emotions and memories in those living with dementia. We plan to grow vegetables and herbs that the residents are familiar with, which they can pick and use in their cooking groups.”
Due for completion in 2023, the upgrade is also intended to encourage visitors to enjoy the outdoor spaces at Wilson Lodge.
“We would love children to come and play here, for families to be able to have a picnic, or for mothers’ groups to use the space,” Caron said. “As well as improving outcomes for residents, this is an opportunity to change people’s perceptions about aged care. We want to make aged care a part of the community.”
Established in 2020 as part of the State Budget 2020-21, the government’s renewal program aims to meet growing demand for residential aged care in regional and rural Victoria and ensure facilities are built to contemporary standards.
More information can be found at: vhba.vic.gov.au/aged-care/regional-facilities/rural-residential-aged-care-facilities-renewal-program